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Article | 15 October 2021 | ESG
Locking away carbon for good
The world’s largest direct carbon capture plant was switched on in September. Based in Iceland, the Orca plant from Swiss renewables technology company Climeworks will remove 4,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere every year. It works by capturing carbon dioxide from the air and injecting it underground, where it mixes with water and eventually turns into rock, locking away the carbon.
The plant sells carbon credits to corporate clients that are looking to offset their emissions. These include car maker Audi and e-commerce brand Shopify. The plant has already sold the majority of credits for its entire 12-year lifespan, and with such strong demand, Climeworks is now designing a much larger plant that will be opened in several years.
The Orca plant itself will only process 4,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year, which is a tiny portion of the 33 billion tonnes that the International Energy Agency forecasts will be emitted this year. This may seem insignificant, but the opening of the plant suggests that the technology is viable on a commercial scale. We could therefore expect to see improvements in scale and efficiency over the coming years, with carbon capture potentially becoming a valuable weapon in the fight against climate change. Furthermore, carbon capture plants offer a more weather-proof method of reducing atmospheric carbon than planting trees, which can be impacted by forest fires and other extreme weather events.
Each month, we look at the steps Architas and the AXA Group are taking towards a better, more sustainable future for our employees, communities and the wider world.
In September, Architas staff took part in the AXA Week for Good, participating in a variety of activities to make a positive impact on society and our planet. Many people joined the Chase the Sun challenge, collectively walking, running and cycling a total of 952 kilometres in just 24 hours. We raised £10,000 for the TRIBE Freedom Foundation, a charity that helps to empower survivors of modern slavery. We also participated in the AXA Group’s global ‘plogging’ challenge, which combined exercise with litter-picking.
At Architas we specialise in multi-manager, multi-asset investing. We work with fund managers to ensure they are investing responsibly and focusing on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. In 2018, we began our journey to full ESG integration across all of our offers, and we aim to achieve this by the end of 2021. Since 2018 we have also been signatories of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment. For more information about our responsible investing process please click here.